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Maybe it is Time for a Super Premium Version of Akismet?

Maybe it is Time for a Super Premium Version of Akismet?

Take a look at the comment below, caught by Akismet and held for moderation on a client blog I have access to, but not automatically marked as spam and removed when clicking the Check for Spam button. Why do I have to see it? What in this comment makes it even remotely possible to be a valid one?

Don’t get me wrong, Akismet is a great service, and it saves me a lot of time, as it does numerous others, but sometimes it amazes me what it lets through. And I’m not only thinking about the porn spam that litters most blogs’ moderation queues (or comment areas) should they have obtained some degree of traffic.

A lot of obvious spam is getting through, and if Akismet wants to stay the de facto standard of WordPress blogs, and have a chance to reach a similar position on other platforms out there, it needs to improve.

Maybe the solution is to make the users pay more if they want that extra sharp service? I would pay extra if it meant I didn’t have to see crap like the one above at all. Or the one below, which have hit me about a billion times the last week or so.

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While Akismet by no means is something bad, or even a poor service, there is competition out there today, and that means that, if I get aggravated enough, I’ll turn to it and see if it can do better. And when it does, I’ll leave Akismet altogether. Users today aren’t exactly loyal, if we aren’t satisfied, we’ll turn to the next thing, and then the next.

Akismet still hold my spam fighting walls, but every now and then I’m seeing comment spam that just shouldn’t be let through, and it gets worse on blogs with more traffic. If this is something that goes for the battle on comment spam in general, or if it is something Akismet is struggling with, is hard to tell.

And you know what? I don’t care, I just want the spam to disappear, like it does in Gmail. Maybe Google will plunge into this area as well, now that they’re taking on Firefox? I’d at least welcome the competition.

View Comments (7)
  • It’d be nice if there was something like Akismet that lets users know if they’ve been blocked, and then gives them option to undo the damage by filling in a captcha on another page. Then they can fix their own false positives, and if they are a manual spammer you can still blacklist them.

    At the moment I have to put a conspicuous “If your comment disappears, use the comment restoration form!” notice below the comment box. This makes it easy for people to report a false positive, but it’s still a pain.

  • I don’t know if it’s Akismet or whether it’s spammers getting cleverer. I’ve been using Typepad anti spam which was great for a while but have exactly the same problem. I’m at a point where I’m seriously considering requiring readers to register to comment because while Akismet and Typepad anti spam have stopped literally millions of comment spams on ProBlogger – they are letting more and more through and I’m spending hours a week moderating crap like the ones you’ve shown. It’s getting out of hand.

  • Darren, if you’re having serious problems and it’s WordPress you might want to consider coupling Peter’s Custom Anti-Spam Image with a rare/unique font. It seems to have stopped spam dead on my comment pages; for about 10 months the only spam I’ve received has been the odd viral marketer, which of course are actual people and won’t be stopped. I was getting 5+ a day before that, which prompted me to implement something.

    The beauty of this particular plugin is the customisation. Bots have been programmed to read CAPTCHA images, but they have to be specifically coded to do so. The moment you use an unusual font and start fiddling with the colours, their algorithms fail. Then the only way forward for them is for a programmer to spend a lot of time writing a new bot specifically for your site — unlikely in most cases.

    For best results, scour a free font website and find out that has lots of overlapping bits. The types of CAPTCHAs that are extremely difficult for programmers to conquer are those that have no clear definition between letters. If you have two slightly overlapping letters that’re the same colour, they’ll have a serious headache and most likely just give up. And that’s assuming they’re desperate enough to try and crack your specific site. :)

    Extremely effective. And as you can see on my blog, they don’t even have to be difficult to read.

  • I use Akismet, in combination with Bad Behavior, and I’ve not seen either of the examples you used (nor anything that looks like them). In fact, over the just-concluded Labor Day weekend (US & Canada), I had exactly one spam to moderate (a true positive).

    I believe relying on only a single anti-spam engine is not the wisest course of action; while it would be great if a single solution were an all-encompassing solution, we simply aren’t there yet.

    Notwithstanding, there is no excuse for Akismet not blowing away your first example. (And what, exactly, is the POINT of such spam??)

  • I have not much problems with Akismet, but that might be because my blog is not attracting many spammers and is not noted much.

    Btw the image verification thing always helps, am talking about the plugin you shared in response to Darren’s comment.

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